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4-H Frequently Asked Questions

4-H Basics Clubs & Projects Volunteers & Leaders Other Questions

4-H Basics

What is 4-H?

4-H is an organization run by volunteer members at the club level and facilitated by the WSU Extension office.  Youth “learn by doing” through hands-on experiences, guided by adult volunteers as well as trained WSU staff and faculty. These experiences allow youth to gain important skills they can use throughout their lifetime.


Washington State University 4-H Youth Development is assisting young people to become productive citizens who are engaged in positive change in order to meet the needs of a diverse and changing society.


4-H Youth Development education creates a supportive environment for all youth and families to reach their fullest potentials. This will be accomplished through a systematic approach of foundation and mission-driven science to meet the 4-H goals to:

  • Provide formal and non-formal experiential learning
  • Develop skills that benefit youth throughout life
  • Foster leadership and volunteerism in youth and adults
  • Build internal and external partnerships for programming and funding
  • Strengthen families and communities
  • Employ research-based knowledge and the land grant university system
  • Embrace and expand the traditions of the 4-H Youth Development program

Who can join 4-H?

Any youth 5 years old and in kindergarten through 19 years of age may participate in the 4-H Program. Youth from all backgrounds are welcome without discrimination.

Adults may also join 4-H as trained volunteers. Adult volunteers share their time, talents, and knowledge with youth in the community. They work in partnership with youth, other volunteers, and 4-H staff. See our volunteer page to find out more.

Do I need to own an animal?

4-H clubs can explore any subject area or project that interests them! You don’t need to own an animal or live on a farm. Project areas include (but are not limited to): Healthy Living, Horse and Large Animals, Arts and Sciences, Small Animals, and Shooting Sports.

How much does it cost to participate in 4-H?

In Spokane County, the total yearly enrollment fee is $25 for members age 5-8 and $35 for members age 8-19. Projects and special events may require additional costs and clubs may have their own dues. Assistance is available (pdf) for anyone in need.

How do I get started with 4-H?

The 4-H year is October 1st through September 30th. Parents can contact the 4-H office to learn more about becoming a 4-H family. Our staff will answer questions and direct you to a club in your vicinity based on your project interests.

Find out more about how to enroll in 4-H.

Clubs & Projects

What do 4-H clubs do?

It’s entirely up to 4-H members what their club does! 4-H clubs usually focus on one or more topics of the members’ choice. They conduct project-related activities; for example, a gardening club may have a year-round garden or a technology club may work on Web design at meetings. Clubs usually meet at least once per month to conduct business meetings led by elected officers, learn new things, and participate in social activities. 4-H clubs may also do community service both in their project area and where they are needed.

Can I start my own club?

Yes! If there isn’t an existing open club that you would like to join, you are welcome to start a new one. Clubs must have at least five enrolled youth from three different families and be led by one or more certified volunteers. The 4-H office is happy to help you get started.

What is involved in a 4-H project?

Every 4-H member selects at least one project to work on throughout the year. Members choose projects that fit into their family, community, their 4-H club, and the way they live. Projects are self-paced and meant to be worked on over time at home or with project groups. Younger members may need supervision, but older members are expected to do most project work independently.

Volunteers & Leaders

Who helps 4-H members?

4-H members are guided by adult volunteer club leaders. Every club has one or more adult leaders. Leaders teach, organize, and oversee the club; help club officers conduct business meetings; and keep parents updated about 4-H activities and deadlines. There are a variety of leadership roles:

  • General Leader– club organizer
  • Project Leader– works with members on their projects
  • Activity Leader– responsible for one or more activities such as: recreation, record keeping, public presentations, and community service
  • Resource Leader– available to the club or project as a resource with knowledge of club level information

How do I become a volunteer leader?

Adults interested in becoming volunteer leaders may contact the 4-H office (509-477-2160) to learn about training opportunities and other requirements. See our volunteer page for more details.

How can I help without volunteering?

Donations keep the 4-H program running at the club, county, state, and national levels. Local donations can be made online or you can contact us for more donation options.

Other Questions

What are some specific examples of youth activities in 4-H?

4-H members participate in many of the following activities to enrich their 4-H experience:

  • Public Presentations:  4-H members show and tell others how to do something they have learned. Members learn public speaking and communication skills while helping others.
  • Record Keeping:  4-H members keep a written record of what they have done during the 4-H year. Keeping records helps members evaluate their learning and develop business sense.
  • Recreation:  4-H’ers learn to enjoy life, themselves, and their association with others in social activities.
  • Community Service Projects:  The entire club can plan a project. In community service projects, 4-H’ers do things to improve their community. 4-H clubs often choose projects in conservation, beautification, safety, or health.
  • County Contests and Fairs:  4-H members age 8 or older can choose to take part in judged contests. Through the judging process members learn how to “make the best better,” or in other words, how to improve their projects. Younger members, also known as Cloverbuds, may share their projects in a non-competitive format. Contests and fairs also give members a sense of pride and accomplishment. 4-H’ers receive ribbons and prizes for their efforts. There are many different fairs and shows in which youth may participate.
  • 4-H Day and Residential Camps and Regional, State, and National Conferences:  Many 4-H members choose to attend 4-H camps and conferences. A variety of day camps and overnight experiences are available for both younger members and teens related to our program areas. Partial scholarships or “camperships” are often available.

Are there other ways to participate in 4-H?

Afterschool programs can use 4-H curriculum to participate in 4-H during their existing programs. Contact the 4-H office for details.

What if I have more questions about 4-H?

Feel free to contact the 4-H office or the contact person for a club you are interested in joining. The 4-H office staff will also occasionally hold open office hours via Zoom for anyone to chat or ask questions. Take a look at our calendar for upcoming dates.